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  • Kristen Herring-Asleson

The Hurdles and Hoops Women Still Face at Work

The issues women face at work now are very similar to the issues they faced years ago.

With everything else around us progressing forward, why are women still dealing with things like gender pay gaps, “getting a seat at the table,” lack of flexibility, sexism, racism, and the list goes on. You probably have one or two issues you would like to add to the list.


A recent study (2020) performed by Salt’s Global Survey said that it would take nearly 202 years to close the pay gap at the rate it's been closing. Pay negotiations and bonus structures continue to be gender-biased against women.


The study also included that women seem less comfortable asking for bonuses or pay raises. Why? Where is our confidence in ourselves and the work we do? What is the root for our underestimation in our value?


What does having a “seat at the table” mean? In essence, it means that women should be getting the same opportunities as men. But are we? It is par for the course that women are not developed into leadership roles nearly as much as men. Furthermore, women need to show more achievements and proof they are ready for such a role. This is yet another gender stereotype women need to bust through.


Along with leadership roles come promotions. This story was recently shared with me:


“One summer break, my boyfriend and I traveled to Europe. He proposed to me while there, so of course, I posted my exciting news on social media. Word got around at work, and when I returned to work, my boss said, 'we want you to take this promotion, but think long and hard about it. Now that you’re engaged, you are one step closer to having children. If you are considering having children in the next 10 years, then you should not take this promotion.'


“Being that I was 30 and always knew I wanted kids, it broke my heart to know that, based on this conversation, I would not have the chance to have both a family and a better position in the company I had worked so hard for. Also, on a personal note, it hurt my feelings there was no congratulations or a tiny bit of excitement for me. It appeared to be bothersome for my employer.”


Women in my networking groups cited other hurdles they've encountered: added job responsibilities with no pay increase; no discussion prior to changes in job responsibilities; too much work with not enough hours to meet expectations; low staffing and proper help; poor communication; poor leadership.


My thoughts keep coming back to lack of confidence women have. Where can we start to gain more? Is the answer something as simple as beginning with our body language?


There is a link between our bodies and our brains, so if we start looking like how we want to act, I think that’s just the beginning of righting the ship for women and making the changes we want to see.



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